Earlier this summer, I went on a road trip along the Central Coast of California with my sister and brother-in-law. (Check them out if you want a serious case of wanderlust.) When I discovered we’d be passing through Paso Robles, I knew we’d have to make a pit stop at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. It’s the 16th largest craft brewery in the country!
Interestingly enough, news of Duvel’s acquisition of Firestone Walker broke just before our trip. The brewery is now owned by the company that owns Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. The variety of merger, acquisitions, and overall movement in the craft beer industry these days is cause for a separate post, but this article provides a good synopsis of the Firestone situation: “This deal is about enabling Firestone Walker; it’s not about trying to find great synergies or integrating the companies.”
Now that we have all that technical stuff out of the way, let’s get into the fun…
We visited the Taproom Restaurant for food and drinks. The actual brewery is right next to it on the same side of the street. We were on a tight schedule so we didn’t get a chance to take a brewery tour, but they are offered every day. You can learn more about tours here.
The interior of the restaurant reminded me a lot of Stone Brewing Company: high ceilings, lots of wood and steel, and an overall nice, modern design.
But let’s not forget why I was here! Once we were seated, I quickly scanned the beer list. I had hoped to try one of the taproom-only beers, but they were sadly out of what I wanted to try: the Taproom Brown and Hammersmith IPA. No big deal, though. I chose the Pivo Pilsner instead, and you guys, I can’t say enough good things about that beer. There’s one currently in my fridge — that’s how much I love it.
IPAs certainly get a lot of love in Southern California, but I just read this fabulous article that praises lighter, crisper styles like the Pilsner. It’s a great go-to beer for those looking for a low-hop, low ABV option.
For lunch, I chose the fish tacos. My sophisticated review? Om nom nom. So stinking good. Firestone has a range of lunch and dinner options, including salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. I’m happy to report that they also have several vegetarian options, too, as I tend to eat mostly vegetarian (this day was an exception, obviously–I’m not strict about it).
You could easily spend a full afternoon exploring the brewery and enjoying a meal, or you could just stop in for a pint.
If you’re in the Paso Robles area, visiting Firestone Walker is a no brainer. Let me know if you’ve been, or if you plan to go!